Keep Your Ignorance at Home This Season

It’s spooky season, and every year costumes get more creative. Whether it’s putting on a sweatband and being an athlete, or painting whiskers on your face to look like a cat, Halloween costumes have gotten easier to pull off.

So, why would you choose to offend an entire ethnic group by mocking their culture and traditions?

Let’s turn to, the latest expert in the field, and host of “Megyn Kelly Today,” Megyn Kelly, for a textbook example of what happens when you ignore this rule. Kelly tried to give ignorance a hall pass during a discussion on an episode of her show where she said that when she was a kid, blackface was acceptable.

Surprise! In 2018 ignorance can get you fired.

And surprise! This is your not-so friendly reminder to not be racially offensive on Halloween.

The problem is: it’s not hard to be inoffensive and creative.Yet people still choose to wear ignorant outfits and makeup that take more effort than pulling something out of your closet.

“What is racist?” said Kelly on the episode.“You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was OK just as long as you were dressing as a character.”

Blackface was a tool often used by white Americans to portray black characters in their theatrical and film productions. A white actor would paint themselves black, line their mouths into big red smiles and make their hair stick out on all sides.

More often than not, these characters were used in minstrel shows which featured a group of white individuals parading around in black face, acting foolish and uneducated in front of a white audience.

This isn’t secret. It is a part of American history, and even though it was a major part of 19th century entertainment – which is farther back than most people can trace their lineage – people have routinely gotten into trouble for doing it in the 21st century. Take, for example, Julianne Hough’s costume as Crazy Eyes from “Orange is the New Black.” Or Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Nikita Dragun for their respective makeup campaigns.

“There are strict rules on what you may and may not wear by someone who thinks they’re the boss of you,” said Kelly on the episode.

No, Kelly, I don’t think I’m the boss of you, it’s that you think you’re the boss of me. By choosing to wear a costume that is racially and culturally insensitive, it tells me that you don’t value an undeniable part of my humanity and identity. Of course, this goes beyond blackface.

“You cannot dress as a Native American, apparently, that has been a rule for a long time,” said Kelly.

You’re right, Megyn, it has been, since before even you’re ancestors stole this land.

In 2014, rapper and producer Pharrell Williams was criticized for wearing a war bonnet, or Native American headdress, on the cover of Elle Magazine, according to an MTV article.

War bonnets are worn by elders in some Native American tribes, and are representations of their accomplishments. They also hold spiritual significance, according to the article. By wearing one as a costume, you are undermining the significance of those people’s accomplishments and leadership in their tribe.

The eagle feathers used in the bonnet are earned. The more feathers, the more the wearer has achieved in the name of that tribe. Feathers imply respect, and wearing one mocks those who have earned that.This isn’t a new tradition. Even early explorers knew this.

“You can’t wear anything Mexican-based, no sombrero, no maracas: that’s cultural and race-based,” said Kelly during the episode.

The issue with costumes like this are the intentions behind them. You cannot categorize Mexicans by hats, mustaches and ponchos.

The problem with “Mexican-based” costumes lies in that phrasing. You’re tying together random, unrelated things from another country and claiming it represents an entire rich and meaningful culture.

“I can’t keep up with the number of people we’re offending just by being, like, normal people,” said Kelly.

That’s because you’re offending everybody. This is only a small sample of offensive costumes you can choose. From geisha’s to terrorists to religious figures, if you’re wearing it, it’s probably because you aren’t a part of that group or culture. Instead, be creative, be basic, who cares? Just don’t be racist. It really isn’t that hard.